A Period for a Lady Runner in Ramadan
Islam exempts menstruating women from fasting in Ramadan. This rule makes sense—during a period, we are losing blood, and therefore ought not to refrain from food and water. So most women get about a week off of fasting in Ramadan. The potential for awkwardness is certain—like the time when my brother caught me in daylight kneeling near the fridge with a spoon in my mouth, and we both ran out of the kitchen in opposite directions; or when my non-Muslim roommate, who had just started to understand the point of Ramadan, asked me why I was packing lunch. More importantly, the period also provides a potential for running and worship.
I use my period as an opportunity to catch up on long runs. On fasting days, I run for 30-60 minutes just prior to sunset, fitting in 3-6 miles, depending on the weather. When I’m not fasting, I double the mileage, and switch to morning running. I plan back-to-back long runs, and since I can have water, a heat wave with high humidity would not hinder my plans. Some women experience menstrual cramps, bloating, and fatigue that could make running difficult during the period; but I have found that running reduces these symptoms. While it is harder to get out the door, once I have knocked out a couple of miles, the pains lessen, and eventually disappear entirely on the run.
Running on my period also helps me stay disciplined for Ramadan. While everyone else is waking up early for the pre-dawn meal and the Fajr prayer, it could be tempting to sleep in if I’m not fasting. However, if I am planning to run, it makes me wake up early, and start my day on time, too!
While we are not fasting, Ramadan continues, and there are many ways we could continue to partake in the Holy month. Here are some ideas:
- Use the timeslots from the five mandatory prayers for worship
- Use the extra taraweeh time for remembering God
- Study the meaning of the Qur’an in your native language
- Reflect on the meaning of the Qur’an
- Increase service to family, friends, neighbors, and the needy
- Contemplate our purpose in life
- Appreciate our Creator
- Ask God for the heart’s deepest desires
Ramadan is precious, and a period during this month does not pause time for chocolate; instead it is an opportunity to run and worship without missing a minute.